The Roman Emperor Claudius II Gothicus, AD 268-70, is said to have been a large and fierce man. In his efforts to fight the invading Goths and Germans, he attempted to increase the size of the Roman army. Volunteers were few, due largely to what was essentially a life-long commitment of being a Roman soldier. Legend has it that the Emperor believed young men weren't joining because they were too comfortable and too interested in pursuing women.
February 14, 2013
December 31, 2012
This is the time of the year when we tend to take stock of ourselves and our lives. We often make promises on things that we try to improve - many of which we never complete.
In the early 1700's, Jonathan Edwards compiled a list of 70 resolutions. While we may review our resolutions every year, Edwards committed to reviewing his resolutions…
December 24, 2012
He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. John 1:10
The infinite and awesome creator of the cosmos took the form of his own creation and subjected himself to the laws of time and death, to save those who rebelled against him. God’s voluntary subjection to the rebellious brutality of His creation demonstrates the degree to which God hates original sin – pride and conceit.
November 25, 2012
June 17, 2012
February 14, 2012
Is a good day to remember The Legend of Valentine.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
December 31, 2011
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 23,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
December 9, 2011
One of Newt’s former staffers, Yuval Levin, and David Brooks correctly point out both the moderate, north-east, country club nature of Newt and Romney’s “conservatism”, as well as Newt’s serious and deep flaws. David Brooks admires Gingrich’s zeal for smarter, targeted government, and not necessarily less government. See Brook’s assessment here. George Will recently made the same observation about Gingrich, but as pointed criticism, even commenting that Gingrich would have made a great Marxist. See here. Levin observes that from a policy perspective, Gingrich and Romney are practically indistinguishable, however, Romney presents a much more stable character. See here.
It seems to me that another Bush-Rockefeller president would keep us on the fast track to Europe’s present location: economic stasis and slow financial collapse. Unlike Europe, we’re not going to have the United States to help prop us up. Instead, we will have to rely upon the good intentions of the Chinese. Good luck with that.
If either of these men win the Republican nomination, the Republican Party is no longer the party of decentralized limited government and liberty. (Or maybe I’ll finally admit that’s been the case for some time.) Dr. Paul still offers the strongest cure for the soft despotism of the nanny state and ongoing fiscal insanity. See my case for Paul here. Bachman and Huntsman also offer correct solutions to these problems.
Obama is not the cause of our current malaise. He was popularly elected and may well be re-elected. He’s the symptom of poor political thinking within our republic, and only worse by degrees, not type, than the errant statist policies of his predecessors, Republican and Democrat.
We pray and have civilized discussions on these issues in an effort to convince our friends and neighbors. Our faith, however, is in another ruler.
September 16, 2011
The Fourth Circuit has recently released an opinion affirming the right of churches (and other religious organizations) to abide by their religious convictions in making decisions about employees. Federal law prohibits religious discrimination—a good thing when secular employers discriminate against people of faith—but churches could not achieve their spiritual mission if they could not “discriminate” by selecting employees who fully support that mission.
The case is Kennedy v. St. Joseph’s Ministries, Inc. Lori Kennedy was employed as a geriatric nursing assistant at the Catholic nursing care facility operated by a religious order. Residents and their families complained about Kennedy’s long skirts and head coverings—clothing she wore as a matter of religious principle. Kennedy was told that her clothing was “inappropriate for a Catholic facility,” and she was discharged when she refused to change it. In ruling for the church employer, the Fourth Circuit followed U.S. Supreme Court precedent affirming the right of a religious organization to “discriminate” on the basis of religion in its hiring decisions.
A case with similar issues will be heard in the U.S. Supreme Court on October 5, 2011. Hosanna Tabor-Lutheran v. Perich. (I wrote a brief for that case on behalf of Justice and Freedom Fund.) Perich, a commissioned minister according to Lutheran tradition, taught at a church-owned school. She sued after the church refused to immediately reinstate her during a time she was on disability leave.
Hosanna concerns the court-created “ministerial exception” that respects the right of a religious organization to select the persons who will carry out its religious mission. The principle is particularly applicable to pastors, but it extends much further and is based on the First Amendment Free Exercise Clause. Kennedy is about an exemption created by federal statute, and it covers all employees—not just “ministerial” employees. Both cases are about protecting the right and ability of religious organizations to handle their internal business free of state interference. The Religion Clauses of the First Amendment were designed to guard that right.
June 20, 2011
In the last 3 years, I have wept deeply over four significant life moments:
1) For deeply hurting someone close to me
2) For the loss of a ministry position
3) For my Dad’s death
AND most recently 4) For the death of an unsaved friend
I have found in each of these life moments a profound sadness I have not experienced for much of my life. I also find myself weary, deeply weary of life’s disappointments and goodbyes. Upon reflection I find each of these life moments to hold a unique place in my thoughts. I do understand that weeping is truly an emotional release perhaps sort of a burst of deep sadness. Yet for each of the four life moments mentioned above that sadness has a different quality altogether.
Weeping as a result of deeply hurting someone close to me was excruciating, but I found forgiveness and truly that faithful are the wounds of a friend (Proverbs 27:6). On the other hand, my sorrow for a job loss proved to be momentary especially when I experienced a renewed sense of freedom along with the healing grace from family and friends.
No one can prepare you for the death of a parent. My sorrow increased from the moment I heard the news to the moment I saw his lifeless body in the casket prior to the funeral. However, my weeping was mixed with great hope of seeing him again in heaven. Even so, there are times I am surprised by a memory of him and find I am fighting back tears.
In all, these first three have a different ending that the last one will never have. These life moments I have already described have joy attached – forgiveness, grace, and hope. But this last one I’m fearful will linger with me in a wholly different way.
I knew Nick less than a year. He was friendly and outgoing. We were fans of many of the same sports teams and often kicked such subjects around. For the last three months he was my protégé at work. He was a good sales man and I knew he would do well as the months progressed. At age 32, he still wasn’t married, but looking for Mrs. Right. On the matter of spiritual things, he grew up Catholic but the importance of God and church had faded in his life.
Nick heard the truth that you can’t earn your way to heaven. He knew that Christ was essential to eternal life. Yet he felt he had enough religion for now. After all he was young and had much of his life ahead of him. He received a fair share of evangelism, even though I’m not sure how much he saw the truth lived out. I sought to be an example of Christ every day we worked together. At the end, it wasn’t enough. My friend, as far as I know, went to bed Friday evening and died in his sleep without trusting in God’s one and only provision for eternal life.
So my sorrow has an edge that cannot be undone. No do-overs in life after death. There never has been. The Bible says it is appointed for man to die and after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). I wish my friend had his judgment cancelled because of Christ.
As with any sorrow, I have but one thing to do: Rest in the sovereign, loving and grace-filled hands of our heavenly Father. He alone comforts my heart.
May 16, 2011
The Bible says that we are to “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Col 3:10).
I remember falling into the mud as a boy. It was raining outside and as my friends and I were playing, we fell into the mud and every part of our clothes were soaked and dirty. When I came to the door, my mother just looked at me for a moment. As a smile formed on her face she told me to go to the garage where I could get clean before tramping all that mud into the house. While in the garage she made sure all the mud was off, wiped my face, and gave me clean clothes to wear. When I finally entered the house, all the mud was gone.
When we come to Jesus for salvation, He too smiles. But He first tells us to go to the cross. When we arrive there we are dirty beyond recognition. After we are forgiven Jesus begins to clean us. By the time we get to heaven, the mud is gone and we are wearing new cloths that will never again be stained by sin.
It is important to note that being forgiven and being cleaned are two different aspects of the Christian life. Being forgiven happens immediately after we come to the cross. Being cleaned is a lifelong process. Being forgiven is called receiving salvation, or being saved. Being cleaned of our sins is called sanctification.
You cannot be cleaned until you are forgiven; but once you are forgiven the Lord begins the process of cleaning you from all sins. The Lord wants us to be actively engaged in the cleaning process. He does the work, but just as my mother helped me dress when I was a boy, we have to pay attention and do as He says.
The Bible tells us to “Put on the new self.” That’s the same thing as saying, “Take the clean clothes the Lord is giving you and put them on!” The apostle tells us that we are to put them on by “being renewed in knowledge.” In other words, sanctification happens when we intentionally seek to obey God’s Word.
When we do obey, the Bible makes it clear that the cleaning process does not end with us wearing just any type of clean clothes. He says that we are renewed after the image of our creator. That’s a staggering thought! When we are cleaned from sin, and ushered into heaven, we are going to look like Jesus, our creator!
As a Christian I sometimes still feel like that little boy covered in mud looking into my mother’s face. And when I look into the face of Jesus, I am thankful that the Lord is willing to forgive me and go about the laborious task of cleaning me. He is a patient and loving God! I look forward to wearing my new clothes.
April 23, 2011
Easter Weekend has come, bringing lots of discussions….
- Day off of school (Good Friday off)
- Earth Day on Saturday (See a great post here)
- Commercial Trappings (Easter Bunny, Sugar, Easter Baskets, More Sugar, etc.)
- Church Services (make sure to wear something nice!)
- Spring Weather
But what is the big deal about Easter?
We don’t worship a dead savior.
We were enemies with God.
Jesus bought us forgiveness with his life.
But he is not dead. He is alive again!
We don’t worship a dead savior.
Is this news?
Is this new news? Is this old news?
How does it change your life?
How does it change your weekend?
What if there was no holiday? How about next weekend?
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.
- 1 Corinthians 15:17-21
Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
- 1 Corinthians 15:49
I want share again a post from last year: He’s Alive!
Have a wonderful Easter!
April 12, 2011
March 15, 2011
Are your rights as a parent free from governmental interference?
Do you believe that the government will only involve itself in cases of abuse and/or neglect?
The following ten questions are designed to test your knowledge of events that have affected the parent-child relationship in the United States. The last 5 questions pertain, specifically, to a treaty that has been ratified by many U.N. countries around the world.
TRUE or FALSE
- Child protective services forcibly removed a 13 year old boy from his parents after he complained to a school counselor that they took him to church too often (twice on Sunday and once on Wednesday).
- You have a legal right to know if your teenage children will receive or have received medical treatment through the public schools.
- In most states parents are held liable for public library fines issued to their children, but, they are denied access to information about the titles of the books.
- A 13 year old girl was ‘liberated from her parents’ after she complained of being grounded for smoking marijuana and having sex with her boyfriend.
- A mother in Illinois was twice refused her request to opt her daughter out of sexual education lectures that she found objectionable.
- The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC), which would allow the government to determine the “best interest of the child” (even in cases where there has been no parental neglect or abuse) and supersede all parental power, has been signed by the United States.
- If the UN CRC is ratified, religious schools would no longer be allowed to teach that Christianity is the only true religion and would be forced to teach “alternative worldviews.”
- Under the UN CRC, a child’s “right to be heard” would allow them to seek governmental review of any parental decision with which the child disagreed.
- Parents would still have the right to “opt out” their children from sex education.
- Proponents of the treaty are on the move and claim to be near victory.
- TRUE. The child was placed in foster care until the parents agreed to a Superior Court Judge’s demands that the child be taken to church no more than one time per week.
- FALSE. Schools are not required to notify, request permission, or inform the parents of any medical treatment their children receive. In some states, this includes abortion procedures.
- TRUE. Many states have laws that protect the “right to privacy” in children 9 years old and older, so parents cannot see materials that their children have checked out.
- TRUE. In the early 1980s, 13-year-old Sheila Marie Sumey, whose parents grounded her, went to her school counselors complaining about her parent’s actions. She was advised that she could be liberated from her parents because there was “conflict between parent and child.” Listening to the advice she had received, Sheila notified Child Protective Services (CPS) about her situation. She was subsequently removed from her home and placed in foster care. Even though the judge found that Sheila’s parents had enforced reasonable rules in a proper manner, the state law nevertheless gave CPS the authority to split apart the Sumey family and take Sheila away. (In Re: Sumey, 94 Wn. 2d 757, 621 P. 2d 108 (1980))
- TRUE. 35 states require sexual education as part of the curriculum. Of these, only three states require parental consent and 11 states do not permit opting out of the course at all.
- TRUE. President Clinton signed the UN CRC in 1995, however, the Senate has not voted on ratification. If ratified, it would supersede all current family law on the books and a committee of 18 U.N. ‘experts’ from other nations would have the authority to issue official interpretations of the treaty which would be entitled to binding weight in American courts.
- TRUE. Religious schools that teach that theirs is the only true religion “fly in the face of article 29” of the treaty according to the American Bar Association.
- TRUE. The treaty specifically outlaws all corporal punishment and has been interpreted (in Sweden) to disallow any punishment without the consent of the child (including “time out”).
- FALSE. The notion of “opting out” has been held to be out of compliance with the treaty. Today, even in states where “opting out” is allowed for sex education, parents have no right to oppose specific parts of a curriculum. In Parker v. Hurley, 514 F. 3d 87 (2008), a federal appeals court found that parents who opposed a part of a school curriculum related to homosexual rights and practices did not have the right to opt their kindergarten child out or be informed in advance of the curriculum content.
- TRUE. A meeting was held at the White House recently to discuss ratification, and the Campaign for U.S. Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child claim they are near the 67 Senate votes needed for ratification.
Current law on parental rights tells parents that they have no say over their children once they enter the door of a public school.
In Fields v. Palmdale School District, 427 F. 3d 1197 (2005), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals “affirm[ed] that the [fundamental parental] right does not extend beyond the threshold of the school door.” Numerous school boards have determined that parents do not even have a constitutional right to be present on the school grounds where their child attends. See http://www.erusd.k12.ca.us/ERUSDPolicies/1250.pdf
What can we do?
Senate Resolution 99 is currently being considered as a statement against the ratification of the UN CRC Treaty. There are 31 co-sponsors to date. If 34 sign the resolution, the chance of ratification during this congress decreases significantly.
The Parental Rights Amendment has been submitted as an amendment to the Constitution to grant parents the fundamental right to the upbringing and education of their children. This would prevent treaties from superseding, modifying or interpreting these rights.
Learn more at ParentalRights.org
View the Documentary
March 28, 2011
February 7, 2011
January 17, 2011
January 15, 2011
Doug Carlson on The (sad) state of religious liberty - worldwide.
As part of Religous Freedom Day (Jan 16), ADF refocuses attention on its efforts to protect the free expression of Christian faith in our public schools. See here.
December 10, 2010
I came across these videos that are great reminders of what Christmas is all about. It’s so easy for us to get lost in the marketing, celebrating, presents, giving, eating, caroling, parading, movie watching, and all the rest of what has come to be the secular meaning of xmas. Xmas has become just that. We’ve evolved into a society that has X’d out Christ and replaced it with ourselves. So as we celebrate this year, let’s remind ourselves to slow down and be grateful for the mercy given to us by the gracious gift from are Most High.
Here are a couple of great clips to watch and show the family of the real Christmas story.
The Paradox of Christmas:
Retooning the Nativity:
Jesus and Santa:
November 1, 2010
“Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel” (Psalm 22:3).
When I was in seminary, one of my favorite things to do was to go to Chapel. It was a special time for a few reasons.
First, there was great worship. But something I remember about the worship that stands out. It wasn’t great because of a style of music. We sang everything from the golden oldies to the newest contemporary music. Some songs I loved, some … not so much. But the worship was great because of the Spirit that was created by those attending the service. They showed up expecting to meet God, and they acted accordingly. When the congregation sang, they weren’t simply singing, they were telling God how much they loved Him and how great He is. As a result, the Spirit was there and we worshiped Him.
Second, there was always really good preaching, and I was always blessed by the message. But I think I was blessed because every time I entered the sanctuary I wanted to hear what the Lord had to say to me. The best thing about it was that I was never disappointed. I came with an ear to hear, and I left with a Word from God. It’s funny how God can use one message and speak to so many people and still meet them where they are.
Third, there was always a response to God’s Word. Never did a service go by without someone (usually many) responding publically to God’s message. The thing that was so moving was that because people were eager to hear and respond, God was faithful to move in the lives of everyone there. His Spirit would sweep through that sanctuary and I would always have an encounter with God. In fact, it seemed that the only way to avoid an encounter was to not be there. On the days (and they were few) that I could not be there, I always felt like I was missing out. And I was.
Every time I left that sanctuary I was both filled and satisfied. It’s interesting to note that I had many “needs” in those days. Although the messages were not related to any of my “felt needs,” God always filled me and met my needs. I suspect that was so because the purpose of worship is not me and my needs, but God and His glory.
Worship is ultimately about Him. When He is the focus, the subject and object of worship, then satisfaction, peace, joy, fulfillment, and love are the results in the hearts of the worshippers. When I made it my goal to make it all about Him, then He made it possible for me to be complete in Him.
God wants that for ever member of His church. But only you can condition your heart to meet Him. Only you can have the anticipation necessary. Only you can tell God how much you love Him and how great He is. Only you can have an ear to hear. Only you can choose to respond. Only you can choose to worship. When your spirit is prepared for and anticipating a meeting with God, then you will discover the joy of meeting God. Have you met Him lately?